SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After nearly squandering a four-goal, first-half lead, the fourth-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team – thanks, in large part, to a 4-for-5 showing by the man-up offense and a double-digit save performance by sophomore goalkeeper Edward Hellier (South Portland, Maine) – went on a run that the hosts never had an answer for, scoring six straight on the way to a 10-5 victory over No. 2 Le Moyne. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Dolphins and pushed the Warriors to the 2017 NCAA Tournament Semifinals, marking the third straight year that Merrimack has advanced to the tournament’s semifinal round.
Score: Merrimack 10, Le Moyne 5
Records: #4 Merrimack (14-3, 9-2 NE10) | #2 Le Moyne (14-3, 9-2 NE10)
Location: Ted Grant Field | Syracuse, N.Y.
2017 NCAA Tournament Men’s Lacrosse Championship Schedule
Saturday, May 13th – Quarterfinals
North Region Semifinal #1: #3 Merrimack def. #2 Le Moyne, 10-5
North Region Semifinal #2: #4 Pace at #1 Adelphi (7 p.m.)
South Region Semifinal #1: #1 Limestone vs. #4 Wingate (12 p.m.)
South Region Semifinal #2: #2 Lenoir-Rhyne vs. #3 Tampa (2 p.m.)
Saturday/Sunday, May 20-21 – Semifinals
North Region Final: Merrimack at #1 Adelphi OR vs. #4 Pace (TBA)
South Region Final: Semifinalist winners at highest remaining seed
Sunday, May 28 – Championship
Regional champions at Gillette Stadium (2 p.m.)
- Meeting Le Moyne in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season, Merrimack could not have drawn up a better start to the contest, outscoring the Dolphins, 2-0, in the first quarter while Hellier stopped all three shots that reached him to preserve the lead.
- The Warriors pounced on a pair of extra-man opportunities to double their lead less than six minutes into the second quarter, as Merrimack opened a game-high 4-0 advantage.
- Le Moyne would get on the board at the 9:18 mark, and then capitalized on a number of Merrimack turnovers that eventually allowed the Dolphins to get within one (4-3) at the half.
- The turnover issues continued to haunt Merrimack at the start of the third quarter, as the Dolphins drew even at 13:20.
- But the man-up unit pushed the Warriors ahead for good by netting their third goal of the game with exactly 10 minutes left in the third.
- That spurred a 4-0 scoring run to close out the quarter and eventually led to six uninterrupted markers overall, as four different Warriors found the twine in that span to restore Merrimack’s largest lead of the game at four goals (8-4).
- Sophomore Michael O’Connell (Sudbury, Mass.) recorded his first hat trick of the season with his second man-up tally of the afternoon early in the fourth, and the Warriors would net one more for insurance while Hellier yielded only one the rest of the way to punch Merrimack’s ticket to the national semifinals.
Highlights and Notables
- Merrimack snapped a seven-game losing streak Le Moyne, topping the Dolphins for the first time since an 11-10 victory in the NE10 Semifinals back on May 2, 2014.
- The five-goal win matched the greatest margin of victory ever in a game against the Dolphins (12-7, 2000; 8-3, April 19, 1999).
- O’Connell’s hat trick was his first of the season and first since since May 6, 2016, against Adelphi in the NE10 Semifinals. His four points (3g, 1a) were one shy of his career-high of five.
- Junior Kyle Stenberg (Annandale, N.J.) shared the team lead with four points (3g, 1a), while freshman Charlie Bertrand (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) also had a multi-goal game and had three points total (2g, 1a).
- Le Moyne allowed double-digit goals for just the third time this season, with two of those games being against Merrimack.
- Junior Blake Boudreau (Amherst, N.H.) was once again unstoppable on the X, dominating the game by winning 15-of-18 faceoffs.
Team Leaders (MC // LEM)
- Points: Stenberg/O’Connell (4) // Brian Rogers (2)
- Goals: Stenberg/O’Connell (3) // Rogers (2)
- Assists: Five players (1) // Alex O’Brien (1)
- Faceoffs: Blake Boudreau (15-of-18) // Zac Cooley (2-of-12)
- Ground Balls: James Bassett (8) // Justin Hussey (3)
- Caused Turnovers: Hunter Schemll/Eric Coburn (1) // Brendan Entenmann/Hussey (2)
- Saves: Hellier (12) // Jack Sweeney (7)
Team Comparisons (MC // LEM)
- EMO: 4-5 // 0-3
- Shot Attempts/SOG: 35/17 // 34/17
- Ground Balls: 29 // 16
- Clears: 17-20 // 16-17
- Turnovers: 16 // 9
Back in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals for the third straight season, the Warriors will next either travel to Adelphi or host Pace next weekend – likely on Sunday, May 21 – based on the outcome of those two schools’ quarterfinal matchup on Saturday night.
Mike McMahon has covered Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune since 2006 and he also has been a senior writer at College Hockey News since 2005.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN and you can follow the site @TheMackReports.